Housing help available for small businesses

Published 12:00 am Monday, October 17, 2005

Baton Rouge — The La. Department of Economic Development announced Wednesday the reinstatement of the FEMA trailer program for impacted small and large businesses.

The program, which placed 2,136 trailers at 206 worksites for employees and their families, was temporarily suspended by FEMA, but has been reinstated effective October 13. The employee-employer housing program will be coordinated by LED.

“We originally started this program with major industrial sites, but its success expanded to help small businesses,” said LED Secretary Michael J. Olivier.

Requests to LED for FEMA trailers may only be made and completed by representatives of Louisiana-based employers in the Katrina and Rita declared disaster areas on behalf of their employees.

The request cannot be made by an individual for family housing. Those requests must be made through the Department of Social Services.

To obtain instructions for requesting trailers, go to LEDforward.louisiana.gov and click on the F.A.Q.’s link. Information can also be obtained by calling 866-301-7617 and pressing 1 for business support. By calling the toll-free number, LED can fax the information if computer access is not available. After requests are made, LED will assist businesses in the placement of FEMA trailers on a site secured by the corporation off- or on-site from the worksite. LED has obtained environmental waivers for residential units to be temporarily placed on industrial sites. FEMA can only provide travel trailers to businesses when the employee’s household is allowed to reside with the employee at the business location.

Individual employees must be registered with FEMA (www.fema.gov) to be eligible for assistance through their employers. When the temporary housing need has ended, FEMA expects the trailers to be hauled from the site to suitable locations elsewhere.